The Presidential Election

The Presidential Election

Every four years an election is held to determine who will be the next President of the United States. Any natural-born citizen of the United States who is thirty-five years of age or older and has lived in the United States for fourteen years or more is eligible to be President. The presidential election is held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. The election date can fall anywhere between November 2 – 8.

To elect the President, the voters of each state choose a number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives that their state has in Congress. The electoral college, made up of electors from every state, then chooses the President by majority vote. The electors usually vote for the candidate selected by the majority of voters from their state. In the event that there are more than two candidates and none gets a clear majority, Congress selects the President from the three candidates who received the most votes.

A president’s term begins at noon on January 20 in the year following the election. At the inauguration ceremony, the President pledges:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

This oath of office is usually presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. By tradition, the President raises his right hand and places his left hand on the Bible or other book while reciting the oath.

The President is elected to a term of four years. Since 1951, when Article XXII was added to the Constitution, no president may be elected to more than two terms. It is possible for a president to serve more than eight years, however. This can happen if a vice president completes his president’s term, should that president leave office before his term expires, then is elected to two terms himself.